One option to make the situation immediately known is to let the cop know you have autism as soon as they ask for the license and registration. The goal of self-advocacy is to gain the correct accommodations by getting the “issue” at hand in the open as soon as necessary. This makes the other party aware that they are dealing with a slightly different situation, and should react appropriately. With programs (hopefully) educating the police departments on what the autism spectrum is, letting them know you have autism should take away the social pressure of having to navigate hidden rules you may not be aware of. However, the State of Michigan is making it an option to have an ASD designation on your license, the same as corrective lenses or hearing loss. It would take away the pressure to have to announce and self-advocate, while still letting the police officer know that the person they are interacting with may have some social or behavioral differences to accommodate for.
It is important to state that not everyone needs this, and not everyone will want this. Autism is, as the name implies, a spectrum, and some will have a larger issue, either emotionally, socially, or simply not knowing they’ve made a misstep, than others, who may know exactly what to do and have no issue at all. It is best to do what makes you most comfortable, but having the option can be a big win.
Written by Katy Evans